A big, beautiful floor plant can be so eye-catching and can add a real wow factor to your home. However, visitors may not be the only ones captivated by its allure. Furry friends may also find the plant fascinating. And that could be a problem – if that large beauty is not a pet safe houseplant.
Oftentimes, people don’t realize a plant can be toxic if ingested. Actually, it’s quite amazing how many plants are – far more than there are non-toxic plants.
Some pets, like my cat, seem to instinctively keep away from questionable greenery. But there is always that one curious fella that just can’t help himself. You likely know who I mean! Couple this with the greater accessibility of a floor plant, and you could potentially have a real dilemma on your hands.
Luckily, if you have dreams of a stunning floor plant but alarm bells are going off, I have you covered. In this post, I’ve laid out 7 large pet safe houseplants that will not only brighten up your décor, they’ll also ease your worry about Fido or Fifi taking a taste.
7 Large Pet Safe Houseplants
Majesty Palm (Ravenea Rivularis)
A majesty palm can add that classic tropical flair to any setting. In its native Madagascar (where it’s considered an endangered species) a majesty palm can soar to 40 ft in the wild. Thankfully, indoors it’ll top off around 10 ft, which is still a worthy height. But this gal is slow growing, so don’t think about raising those ceilings just yet!
Although some claim it has a fussy reputation, personally, I haven’t found my majesty palm to need any special care. They’re naturally found beside riverbeds. Given that, it’s not a surprise they like a moister soil. However, that doesn’t mean your plant should be sitting in water. Water well, let the top inch or two dry out, then water again. Additionally, use fast-draining soil and a pot with good drainage.
As for light, bright indirect light works best, but it will tolerate medium light. However, this gal won’t do well in a low light area.
Majesty palms like humidity, so don’t hesitate to give it a mist or have it sit on a pebble tray. Read here to learn more about caring for a majesty palm.
Banana Plant (Musa acuminata)
With its huge, semi-floppy leaves, this large pet safe houseplant can paint a stunning picture. In the wild, banana plants can soar to significant heights. So when it comes to indoors, a dwarf variety is best. Even these smaller specimens can reach respectable heights of 6 ft.
One of the most popular indoor varieties is the Dwarf Cavendish, which can produce edible fruit. There are other dwarf options, but the fruit is not always edible, nor are they as aesthetically pleasing.
Keep in mind, though the Cavendish banana plant is edible, as a houseplant it may take a number of years to produce flowers and fruit if it produces at all.
FUN FACT – a banana tree is actually an herb!
Caring for your Banana plants means rich, well-draining soil and lots of indirect sunlight.
Along with light, banana plants like a hot and humid environment. The humidity is especially important for keeping the leaves in good shape. Though they may look tough, banana plant leaves are actually fairly thin and delicate and can tear easily if not living under the right conditions.
You can increase humidity by placing a cool mist humidifier by the plant or placing the plant on a pebble tray.
When it comes to watering, water your banana plant well during the hotter months. Maybe even every other day. Have a pot with good drainage, because, though it needs frequent water, the roots shouldn’t be sitting in water. In the winter, you can reduce your watering schedule.
Dwarf Olive Tree (Olea europaea)
Having an olive tree is like having a little piece of the Mediterranean right in your own home. Olive trees have light, sage-colored leaves and in the summer can produce small, creamy white flowers.
Similar to banana plants, dwarf varieties are better suited for indoor living. Though they won’t be the size of their larger cousins, dwarf olive trees can reach heights of 6 ft. But they are slow growers, so you’ll have to have a bit of patience.
Olive trees need as much year-round sun as possible. Ideally, a south-facing window with direct sunlight will be your best bet. If you can move your plant outdoors during the summer months when the temperatures warm, even better. Doing this will help extend its life.
During their growing season, water thoroughly, then let the top 2 inches dry out before watering again. An olive tree needs well-draining soil, such as cactus soil, and a pot with good drainage. If the soil becomes too soggy, this can quickly kill this pet safe plant. In the winter, you can reduce the amount of water.
Here’s an article by Guide To Houseplants that further explains olive tree care.
Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
If you’re looking for a large pet safe houseplant that’s a bit unique, then look no further than the ponytail palm. This guy is sometimes called an elephant foot tree. And the reason is easy to see.
A ponytail palm’s most notable feature is its large, bulbous trunk, which it uses to store water. Higher up, this flask-like feature tapers off into a thinner stalk that sprouts long narrow leaves that curve like a ponytail – hence the name.
Not only is this guy fun to look at, he’s also an easy houseplant. Overwatering is the biggest concern.
Though “palm” may sound tropical, don’t let the name fool you. A ponytail palm actually hails from southeastern Mexico and is more akin to a desert plant than one from the tropics. Given that, it prefers a semi-dry environment.
So, use fast-draining soil and a pot with good drainage holes. Your soil should dry out between waterings. Add bright, indirect sunlight into the mix and you’ll be all set. Need to know a little more about ponytail palms? Then check out this post from Epic Gardening.
King Tut Plant (Cyperus papyrus)
A King Tut is one of my favorite looking plants. It has long, erect stalks and tufts of grassy leaves that pop out from the end of each stalk-like a mound of disheveled hair. For some reason, this plant always reminds me of the Sesame Street character, Beaker.
The King Tut plant is a dwarf variety of Cyperus papyrus. When grown indoors, it can reach heights of 4-6 ft and can spread out to 4 ft.
The King Tut is a semi-aquatic plant and prefers moist, almost wet soil. He’ll even tolerate standing in water. This is one of the few plants that can do well in a pot without drainage holes – whether inside or outside. In other words, expect to water him frequently.
If possible, place your King Tut plant outside during the summer months and winter him inside. He needs a brightly-lit environment with lots of indirect sunlight.
If you place him outside in summer, he’ll take full sun to light or medium shade. Take a peek here to learn more about growing King Tut plants indoors.
Money Tree (Pachira aquatica)
According to feng shui, money trees are rumored to enhance positive energy, wealth, and prosperity. This could be one of the reasons why they’re popular houseplants! Not only are they considered lucky, but indoors money trees can reach heights of anywhere from 4-8 ft, which can make quite a statement in a home.
FUN FACT– The braided trunks of money trees are not natural features. Nursery cultivators take the young, green trunks and slowly braid them before they turn woody.
I love a money tree, even though mine has been a bit finicky. Then again, other people claim their money trees are fairly easy to care for. Personally, I think the key is finding the right watering schedule.
Apart from that, they really don’t need a whole lot of care.
Your money tree will like medium to bright indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch its leaves, so make sure it’s not by a window that will stream sunlight directly onto the plant.
They’re also not fans of being moved around or being in drafty spots. Therefore, once you decide on its placement, try to keep it in the same spot.
As for watering, deep but infrequent (once the top couple of inches dry out) is often recommended. However, as I said, I struggled a bit with my money tree, especially when it came to watering. I started with deep, infrequent watering and it did well initially. After a time, though, I noticed a lot of yellowing and misshapen leaves. With some trial and error, I discovered placing a couple of ice cubes once a week on the soil seemed to do the trick. I also re-potted my plant into a smaller, better fitting plant pot with better drainage and fast-draining soil.
All of which, I’m glad to say, seems to be making for a happy houseplant.
Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
Despite its name, the bird’s nest fern doesn’t actually look like a typical fern.
Instead of the usual feathery fronds, you associate with a fern, A. nidus has large, whole fronds that are wavy or crinkly in design. The apple green leaves emerge from a central rosette in a tight, nest-like clump. The rosette is fuzzy and the new fronds look like bird’s eggs, which is where its common name comes from.
Bird’s nest ferns are epiphytic and in the wild are often found nestled in palm trees. They’re not the tallest of the large pet safe houseplants, as they usually grow to about 2 ft high and wide. However, under the right conditions, they can reach heights of 4 ft.
Still, whether 2 or 4 ft, they can paint a lush, full picture.
When it comes to their care, think medium light (like what you would find under a tropical tree). Direct sunlight can scorch their fronds. Because of this, they make great options for north or east-facing windows. Bird’s nest ferns like moist, but not soggy, soil. They’re also fans of higher humidity.
Watering your fern is important and, as with the money tree, it may take a little experimentation to get the right amount. Luckily, these guys can be forgiving if you occasionally skip a watering.
Want to know more about bird’s nest ferns? This article from The Sill has further information on their care.
Floor plants can make a stunning addition to your décor and can really brighten up your home. It might be a challenge to find large pet safe houseplants. However, as the above 7 plants testify, there are options.
So, there’s no need to let fear for your furry friend discourage you from a large houseplant. If you have your eye on a plant but aren’t sure about its toxicity, then head over to the ASPCA to see their list of plants that are both pet friendly and unfriendly.
Any questions or thoughts, or if you know of another large pet safe houseplant, please leave a comment below.
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